Rare Vegetables of Malaysia
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A wide range of rare vegetables species can be found
in Malaysia. It has been estimated that about 120 species of rare
vegetables or ulam that are being planted in the home gardens or still
growing wild. Some of the rare vegetables are known as ulam based on
the way it is being consumed such as pegaga, ulam raja or beluntas.
Rare vegetables are categorized as ulam when the fresh or boiled
shoots or young fruits are eaten with sambal or budu. Ulam is the
favorite appetizer in Malay cuisine. Other rare vegetables are fried
or cooked with coconut milk, or made into rojak or other dishes.
Rare vegetables such as terung asam (Solanum ferox),
bitter melon (Monordica charantia), torch ginger (Etlingera elatior),
petola bantal (Luffa aegyptiaca), winged bean (Psophocarpus
tetragonolobus), turi (Sesbania grandiflora), terung pipit (Solanum
torvum), kaduk (piper sarmentosum), sword bean (Canavalia gladiata),
water celery (Oenanthe javanica), African eggplant (Solanum
macrocarpon), belimbing buluh (Averrhoa bilimbi) and rebung buluh
betung (Dendrocalamus asper) contain high nutritional value such as
carbohydrates, protein, fat, minerals and vitamins. Besides that, many
rare vegetables have medicinal values to reduce high blood pressure or
Terung Asam (Solanum ferox)
The tree is small, reaching a height of 0.5 - 1.0
meter tall. The whole plant parts are covered with fine hair. Leaves
are sub-opposite in arrangement and the shape is oval with triangular
lobes. The upper leaf surface is covered with thorns along the veins.
The flowers sprout in racemes with short stalks. Flower petals are
white and powdery. The fruits are oval in shape, 2-3 cm wide and also
covered with fine hair. The fruit is initially green and turns yellow
when it is ripe. its sour taste makes it suitable to be used as a sour
flavoring for dishes.
Peria Katak / Bitter Melon (Momordica charantia)
The herbaceous, tendril-bearing vine grows to 5 meters
tall. Leaves 4-12 cm wide, with 3-7 deep lobes are alternately
arranged. The flowers are yellow in color. The fruit is green, oblong,
17-23 cm long, with a distinct warty surface. Young fruits possess
white seeds and piths turning red upon ripening. Fruits taste bitter
but the bitter taste can be reduced by soaking the fruits in salt
water before cooking. The flesh is juicy and crunchy in texture. The
young fruit is normally eaten as ulam. Bitter melons have been used in
various Asian medicines for a long time as it is believed to possess
anti-malarial properties and can control diabetes and cure skin
Kantan / Torch Ginger (Etlingera elatior)
The plant can reach 5 meters in height. The flower is
pink in color on a long stalk, about 90 cm in length, arising from its
rhizome in the ground. Torch ginger flower, also known as Kantan
flower is popular because it is widely used as flavoring in many
dishes especially in laksa and asam pedas. In addition to that, the
flower has high antioxidant properties. The fruit and leaf also posses
their unique medicinal values.
Petola Bantal (Nuffa aegyptiaca)
Petola bantal is also commonly known as smooth petola
due to the surface of the fruit which is smooth and slightly waxy. The
plant is a climber using its tendrils. The fruit is cylindrical is
shape, light green with 9-10 dark green lines along the length of the
fruit. The flowers are bright yellow and the whole plant is covered
with fine hair. Young fruits are normally cooked as vegetables.
However, fibers from the matured fruits are used as a sponge for
cleaning cooking utensils or as a loofah.
Wing Bean (Psophocarpus tetragonolobus)
Winged bean is also known as kacang kelisa. The plant
is a type of vine growing with a climbing twining stem. Leaves are
trifoliate with three leaflets. Flowers are beautiful with bluish
purple in color. Clusters consist of 2-10 flowers. Winged bean is
easily recognized because it has a unique bean pod. The bean pod is
about 15-22 cm long, four-angled with frilly edges running lengthwise.
The surface is waxy and the flesh of the young pod is partially
translucent. The bean pod has a high nutritional content. protein
content is also high about 29-39%.
Turi (Sesbania grandiflora)
Turi or geti is a perennial plant reaching a height of
4 meters tall. Leaves are pinnately compound with leaflets in opposite
arrangement. Flowers are white or red in color, drooping from the
flower stalks. The boiled shoot is eaten as ulam while the young
leaves can be cooked with coconut milk. Petals of young flower buds
can also be eaten as ulam or cooked as vegetables. In addition to
that, the bark, leaf, root and flower of the plant also possess
Terung Pipit (Solanum torvum)
Terung pipit is also known as terung rembang. The
plant is weedy and can easily be found at grass fields, bushes or
along roadsides. The plant is a shrub reaching a height of 1-2 meters
tall. The leaf is large, oval in shape with triangular-lobed margin.
The whole plant is covered with sharp thorns such as on the stem, leaf
stalks and inflorescence axis. Flowers are white in color and arranged
in a cluster. The fruits are similar to berries, round, small in size
and are borne in a short bunch. The young fruits are usually eaten as
ulam either fresh or boiled. It can also be fried or cooked in dishes.
The fruits are believed to reduce high blood pressure.
|Date of Issue
||26 November 2007
||50 sen x 3 designs
||29mm x 34mm
||RM1.00 x 4
||120mm x 70mm
|Stamp Size in
||29mm x 34mm